CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 966199 DSS
Mr. John F. Jager
Toyota Tsusho America, Inc.
702 Triport Road
Georgetown, KY 40324
RE: Classification Request for Router Bits; Tools for Milling; Principal Use
Dear Mr. Jager:
In your letter to the Director, National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, dated December 18, 2002, you requested classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) for a PCB Separator, jigs and router bits from Japan imported together, and for jigs and router bits imported separately. Your letter was forwarded to this office for reply regarding classification of the router bits. Product literature was provided for examination.
In New York Ruling letter (NY) I89166, dated January 21, 2003, a PCB (Printed Circuit Board) Separator was classified by Customs and Border Protection (Customs) under subheading 8465.92.00, HTSUS, which provides for "machine tools . . . for working wood, cork, bone, hard rubber, hard plastics or similar hard materials: other: planning, milling or moulding (by cutting) machines."
The Sayaka PCB Separator (SAM-CT23 Series) is a type of routing machine used to depanel PCBs using a programmable router. The machine takes multiple module PCBs and cuts out (i.e., depanels) individual PCBs leaving a scrap frame. The machine is usually imported with one or two jigs and ten router bits. The jigs, which are made of aluminum, are used to hold the multiple module boards in place during the routing operation. They are made to customer specification and no two jigs are alike.
The router bits are made of carbide MD10. You have indicated that the ten router bits are shipped with each machine and are of the same type and size. As was stated in NY I89166, in effect, nine of the ten bits are
spares. In NY I89166, the jigs imported with the PCB Separator and one of the router bits were held to be classifiable under subheading 8465.92.00, HTSUS; the jigs imported separately were classified under subheading 8466.20.80, HTSUS, which provides for, in relevant part, "parts and accessories suitable for use solely or principally with the machines of headings 8456 to 8465, including work or toolholders . . . : workholders: other."
The question of classifying the router bits imported with the PCB Separator and/or imported separately has been referred to this office by the National Commodity Specialist Division.
Whether the instant router bits, when imported with the PCB Separator or separately, are classifiable as milling tools of heading 8207 or as cutting tools of the same heading?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied. GRI 6 requires that the classification of goods in the subheadings of headings shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings, any related subheading notes and mutatis mutandis, to the GRIs.
The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:
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8207 Interchangeable tools for handtools, whether or not power-operated, or for machine-tools (for example, for pressing, stamping, tapping, threading, drilling, boring, broaching, milling, turning or screwdriving), including dies for drawing or extruding metal, and rock drilling or earth boring tools; base metal parts thereof:
8207.70 Tools for milling, and parts thereof:
8207.70.30 With cutting part containing by weight over 0.2 percent of chromium, molybdenum, or tungsten or over 0.1 percent of vanadium
* * * *
8207.90 Other interchangeable tools, and parts thereof:
8207.90.30 Cutting tools with cutting part containing by weight over 0.2 percent of chromium, molybdenum, or tungsten or over 0.1 percent of vanadium
* * * *
8466 Parts and accessories suitable for use solely or principally with the machines or headings 8456 to 8565, including work or tool holders, self-opening dieheads, dividing heads and other special attachments for machine-tools; tool holders for any type of tool for working in the hand:
8466.92 For machines of heading 8465:
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While not legally binding, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-90, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).
Parts and accessories suitable for use solely or principally with the machines of headings 8456 to 8565 are provided for in heading 8466, HTSUS. As such, the spare router bits would appear to be classifiable, prima facie, under heading 8466, HTSUS, as parts of the PCB Separator. Heading 8207, HTSUS, covers, among other things, interchangeable tools for handtools or for machine-tools. We note that goods of heading 8207, HTSUS, are excluded from headings 8465 and 8466, HTSUS, by Section XVI, Note 1(o), HTSUS.
EN 82.07 states in relevant part that for this heading:
Whereas (apart from a few exceptions such as machine saw blades) the preceding headings of this Chapter apply in the main to hand tools ready for use as they stand or after affixing handles, this heading covers an important group of tools which are unsuitable for use independently, but are designed to be fitted, as the case may be, into (emphasis in original):
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(B) machine-tools, of headings 84.57 to 84.65, or of heading 84.79 by reason of Note 7 to Chapter 84,
(C) tools of headings 84.67 and 85.08, for pressing, stamping, punching, tapping, threading, drilling, boring, reaming, broaching, milling, gear-cutting, turning, cutting, morticing or drawing, etc., metals, metal carbides, wood, stone, ebonite, certain plastics or other hard materials, or for screwdriving.
The router bits at issue, being for use in machine-tools of heading 8465, HTSUS, meet this description (i.e., tools which are incapable of use independently but are designed to be fit into machine-tools of heading 8465, HTSUS). Thus, the spare router bits, whether imported with the PCB Separator or separately, fall under heading 8207, HTSUS. The question is under what subheading within heading 8207, HTSUS, are the bits classified.
The subheadings of heading 8207, HTSUS, are "use" provisions, which is indicated by use of the word "for" in the subheadings, (i.e., "tools for drilling," "tools for milling," etc.). Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(a), HTSUS, provides as follows:
1. In the absence of special language or context which otherwise requires[,] a tariff classification controlled by use (other than actual use) is to be determined in accordance with the use in the United States at, or immediately prior to, the date of importation, of goods of that class or kind to which the imported goods belong, and the controlling use is the principal use[.]
Therefore, the principal use of the class or kind of goods to which the imported article belongs must be determined. See also Group Italglass v. United States, 17 CIT 226, 839 F. Supp. 866 (1993); E.M. Chemicals v. United States, 923 F. Supp. 202 (CIT 1996). Generally, the principal use is that use which exceeds every other individual use. See HQ 952830, dated February 1, 1993. The courts have provided factors, which are indicative but not conclusive, to apply when determining whether merchandise falls within a particular class or kind. Those factors include: general physical characteristics, expectation of the ultimate purchaser, channels of trade, environment of sale (accompanying accessories, manner of advertisement and display), use in the same manner as merchandise which defines the class, economic practicality of so using the import, and recognition in the trade of this use. See Kraft, Inc, v. United States, 16 CIT 483 (1992); G. Heileman Brewing Co. v. United States, 14 CIT 614 (1990); United States v. Carborundum Company, 63 CCPA 98, C.A.D. 1172, 536 F.2d 373 (1976), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 979 (1976).
In cases involving interchangeable tools, such as the instant case, Customs examines the overall design features of an article to determine its primary function or use. In these cases, the article itself indicates prima facie evidence of the use of the class or kind of good to which it belongs. In
HQ 088174, dated February 27, 1991, Customs dealt with the classification of router bits used with metal-working machine tools. In that ruling, Customs examined the design of the router bit and determined that the bit was primarily used to shape or dress a hole by removing material. The instant router bits appear to be used for routing. Information in the file shows that the instant router bits are of a shank type design with a rotary cutting face, and cutting edges which intermittently engage the workpiece, and which remove material by relative movement of the workpiece and the cutter, similar to the router bits in
HQ 088174. Such tools are designed to shape, finish, dress or contour surfaces, which are indicative of tools used for milling, (i.e., to shape or finish by means of a mill or machine). Their design strongly suggests that the instant router bits perform a milling function to shape or finish the workpiece. In an effort to determine the principal use of the router bits, Customs communicated with several tool industry representatives as well as searched Internet sources. These sources indicate that router bits perform routing, which is a type of milling, and that router bits used in metal working and in manufacturing PCBs are similar.
Based on the description of the PCB Separator provided, the instant articles are used to perform a cutting function. However, Customs must look at "the principal or predominant use, or the usual and common use. Neither the fugitive use of an article, nor the mere susceptibility or capability of use, is a determinative factor" (HQ 963032, dated July 24, 2000). Thus, an examination of information in the file, information from the industry, as well as an examination of similar router bits in HQ 088174, leads to the conclusion that the instant router bits belong to the class or kind of interchangeable tools for machine-tools principally used as tools for milling, of subheading 8207.70, HTSUS.
In HQ 964755, dated December 5, 2001, we classified a similar type of router bit under subheading 8207.90.30, HTSUS, which provides for "other interchangeable tools and parts thereof; other: cutting tools . . . ." In HQ 964755, the router bits were used on router machines utilized in the manufacture of PCBs. In that ruling, the composition of the drill bits and router bits was uncertain and required additional research, which obscured the issue of principal use of the router bits. However, router bits are properly classified under subheading 8207.70.30, HTSUS, as tools for milling. Therefore, we intend to modify HQ 964755 to reflect this classification of router bits.
As the router bits are made of MD carbide they meet the composition requirement for classification under subheading 8207.70.30, HTSUS, which provides for, in relevant part, "[t]ools for milling, and parts thereof; with cutting part containing by weight over 0.2 percent of chromium, molybdenum, or tungsten or over 0.1 percent of vanadium."
Under the authority of GRI 1, the router bits are provided for in heading 8207, HTSUS. Through application of GRI 6, the spare router bits, whether or not they are imported with the PCB Separator, are classified under subheading 8207.70.30, HTSUS, as "interchangeable tools for . . . machine tools; [t]ools for milling, and parts thereof; with cutting part containing by weight over 0.2 percent of chromium, molybdenum, or tungsten or over 0.1 percent of vanadium."
/s/ John Elkins for
Myles B. Harmon
Commercial Rulings Division